Home | News    Thursday 27 May 2021

Sudanese govt, SPLM-N Hilu reiterate readiness for negotiations

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President Kiir (C) al-Burhan (his R) Hamdok (His L) and al-Hilu (L) at the opening session of the peace talks in Juba on 26 May 2021 (ST photo)May 26, 2021 (JUBA) - The Sudanese government and SPLM-N al Hilu officials expressed willingness to negotiate a viable peace agreement ending the armed conflict in the Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile state.

Negotiating delegations from the two sides resumed peace talks on Wednesday after the signing of the declaration of principles on 28 March where the government accepted to include the relationship between the state and religion in the talks and the SPLM-N conceded to limit the security arrangements to the transitional period.

The opening session at the Freedom Hall in Juba was attended by President Salva Kiir, head of the Transitional Sovereign Council Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok, SPLM-N leader Abdel Aziz al-Hilu besides the U.S. Special Envoy Donald Booth and UNITAMS Head Volker Perthes.

In his remakes, Al-Burhan renewed the transitional government’s determination to reach a negotiated settlement with the SPLM-N al-Hilu and stressed his commitment to the agreed Declaration of Principles.

Hamdok recalled that peace is one of the slogan of the December Revolution stressing that a peace agreement should not be perceived as a means to achieve political agenda. "Rather, we should look at it as an opportunity to put our country on the true and safe path towards the future".

President Kiir, for his part, said the presence of the SPLM-N al-Hilu and the SLM led by Abdel Alwhaid al-Nur in Juba shows its willingness to dialogue and to be part of the peace process.

Perthes reiterated the commitment of the UN mission to facilitate and support the peace process and to assist in the implementation of the would-be signed agreement.

Booth urged the two sides to demonstrate the political will to build on the momentum on the declaration of principles to reach a peace agreement in the near future.

After the revolution, the SPLM-N al-Hilu requested a separate process from the one with the Sudanese Revolutionary Front factions that signed a peace agreement with the transitional government on 3 October 2020.

Al-Hilu group said they want a secular state or the right to self-determination. But the government refused the demand saying the relationship between the state and religion should be discussed in the constitutional conference.

The two negotiating teams held a meeting on Wednesday evening to discuss the final arrangements for the first round of the talks on Thursday.

Tut Gatluak, South Sudanese Adviser and Chief Mediator told reporters after the meeting that the inaugural session showed a real desire on both sides to reach peace.

He added that the SPLM-N will submit a paper in Thursday’s meeting and it would be discussed through the various committees during this week.

However, he did not elaborate on the topic of the position paper.

It is worth mentioning that the UNITAMS chief took part in the meeting along with the mediation team.

Guterres welcomes the talks

In a statement from New York, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres welcomed the start of the peace talks in Juba between the transitional government and the SLPM-N al-Hilu.

"The Secretary-General reiterates the importance of the representation and participation of women at all levels of the peace process," said the UN Spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric.

Guterres also urged the two sides to demonstrate goodwill and determination to achieve a comprehensive peace in Sudan.

(ST)

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